Veins Full Of Static
Cinder and Bone
TBR: 30th November
It was way back in June that Veins Full Of Static emerged on the drone electronica scene with their debut EP Is All. Since then, VFOS has been working on something of a landmark work including a YouTube video for us all to enjoy, posted at the end. With artistic music like this, finding one's pace and feel is paramount to the branding of the artist and it looks like VFOS has applied this philosophy extremely well. Their latest release takes us on an audible journey through distortions and tones which build and grow with every passing corner. With a backbone formed from the experiences gathered while unemployed and struggling to make ends meet, dealing with dragging long days and night-long parties next door, the work brings us to a dark yet free-spirited time.
Vale of Sleep opens the album with a rush of distant water, then a sky soaring synth tone plunges down to greet us. The horizon bubbles with sampled voices, it sounds like children playing. A dreamy topping of slow moving sound wafts over in a swooping wingbeat, declining and ascending gently in graceful motions. As the track builds, the slow progression allows for sonics to mingle and join while new amplitudes and delivery mastering inflect various fractions of the whole. The music changes gear around half way in, a new energy of forlorn scope hurtles through the previous harmonic mush. As this evolves like a cake in the oven, the rising air and coalescing ingredients rise to reveal a new angle on the previous direction.
Melodious music seeps in from cracks in the silence and as it merges into ghosts, sounds of busy distances overlap and shadow the dream. Tones of metallic sounding organs push through and form a sound of deep gut-wrenching anticipation. A higher side to the flux responds more like a stringed instrument, occasional sways of quickly vibrating tension swing across the ambience. A phantomesque wind slowly blows over the quiet buildings as if they were candles, their flames flickering and crackling as the air sweeps their crowns. As static interludes support the latter bars, a building of heat and intensity lifts the piece up and into a tower of razor sharp sound. Ghosts on film takes us to that feeling of dread when confronted with the irrational.
With a title like Negating time in Tlon, track three seems to want to take us to another dimension. It does take us to a new tangent with a whistling sound opening the bottle. Harmonies with strings and choral like tones give a similar yet forked arrow, and it scoops us up in bales to greet us with a rhythm. A subtle marching beat tinkles underneath like a child's toy while wails and abstract chords craft distinct head-spaces above us. It seems that the volume builds, or perhaps each section of the sound is becoming more wholesome, as the track progresses, self-similarity and adroit adjustment work in unison to produce an interesting experience. It climaxes with a digital fill of bubbling franticness that fades along with the offering.
A new form of distant creeping static allows the silence to dissipate and more gorgeous colourful drone tones drizzle over the ample frame. The sonics gracefully hang from the corners of sea like waves of distorted white-noise which from a suitable distance, serve to give a distinct warmth to the sound. Rainy footsteps add a new quality, that of travelling from one place to another in a semi-dreamstate which allows us to move without moving. Heat and light from heavenly synths gradually dry the scene and the outside ocean through a pane of glass gives us all something to relax with. Somnambulance is a dreamy and sleepy number, drawing us further into the world of conscious imaginings which frame our everyday life.
Track five begins with a warming up of distorted tones which crackle like a fire. A pitch like feedback swells over the top with a piercing sensation. New bass drums want to appear however they keep getting shoved aside by ghostly wails and insistent strings. The drums decide to bring a cymbal with them soon enough which has the power to cut a channel through the sound which allows the percussion to flow like a river, suddenly undamned. Throwing Hexes reminds me of magical under-words, hidden within the seemingly benign, challenging our sense of purpose. Much more attention is given to the rhythm in this number, yet with high volumes of shrill and alarming notes, the atmosphere remains gloomy and laden with curdling fog.
Final track, God's Got His Plans and I've Got Mine, begins with a church bell. It sounds as if it's being chimed underwater, like so many of the sunken bells recorded around Britain. Soft and stroking tones replace the discordant peel, twined with windy moors and vocal expressions, digital sunlight breaks through to illuminate the sound. Another rhythm pokes through the scenery, once more with a resemblance to marching, plodding on regardless of what nature does, what we struggle against, and what others want from us, we do our best to remain tranquil and bright. This eleven minute finale takes us back to a seemly beginning, while abstract tones drift in and out of the peripheral sky, dreamy and dreary atmospheres manage to remain entirely human despite the glowing sides.
Watch Negating Time in Tlon on YouTube
Dying Of Jealousy
Out 21st November
Nigel Yang and Jonnine Standish return to the mixing desk after a heavy reception for the recent single Drama. This time, a double layering of songs mark this point in their career. Dying Of Jealousy works on the hook and the catchy quality which has by now begun to shine through their electronic expressions. Relaxed yet with a spirit of the dance, this club-land duo brings intellectual beats and classically mastered sonics to us all with an attitude that doesn't fade. With Jonnine's voice, and the compositions laid down by Nigel, HTRK bring this record to the surface with heart, soul, and will.
Reverb and warm distortion give a wet feeling to the crackle of rhythm which opens the first number. Title track Dying of Jealousy begins with a steady pace with sonic stretches from left to right. Echoes build in the drum work to give a soft bed for Jonnine Standish to begin her lines. A sense of the gothic seeps through, black lace, pale skin, red lips, and melancholy eyes all spring to mind as the melodious phrases drip from the speakers. Yearnful remarks with felt passion sleekly dress the humble yet remarkably mixed drum and guitar undercarriage. I'm reminded of Black Tape For A Blue Girl, and the heavenly sadness which blankets the headspace with this music.
As the second track opens, a slower and spacious rhythm rolls out the room like a rolling pin. Thudding bass and drum resolve to bring out a shiny and spongy current of sound which once more is joined by the delicious musings of Jonnine. Moving slowly through crowds of people in a darkly lit room while looking for that smiling face we couldn't help notice, the sea of people diffuse into one another and we gracefully progress towards the end of the evening. Summer Rain brings home a sense of the humid and warm nights in which the labyrinth of intentions and desires keep us occupied.
Listen to Dying of Jealousy on YouTube
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Natural Boundary EP
TBR: 3rd December
Cosmic, space-age techno with experimental avenues comes naturally to Danny Clancy, A.K.A. Blue Veil. This second update for Dichotomy instils the flavour of his groove even further along the lines of their trademark design 12” vinyl that solidifies each batch of sounds. These four tracks spell out the strong-points of Blue Veil's sonic arsenal, showing listeners and DJs what they get in return for playing his music. Acidic and celestial beats with crisp melodies give Natural Boundary EP a distinct sense of the label's direction.
Three Horsemen Of The Apocalypse opens the record with a smooth dancing rhythm. Bass thuds the tempo down in neatly arranged packages then a synth tone adds to the musical force. Deep and throaty bouncing drums begin to clamour down below, these evolve and progress to reveal synthesiser tones mixed in with their hard hitting entrance. Pushing the volume with various sections of the mix, the music grows to fill more of the space allotted for it in the room. Thundering down below with scratching and chirruping above, the dualistic scissors of the track snaps shut around us as we dance to its frantic pace. With the closing of the space and the growing of the sound, a human vocal begins to wail and sing in a repetitive yet haunting melody.
For the second number, a space-age tone in regular fast stepping bleeps spells out the sensations. Further tones of a futuristic nature revolve and begin to play out their looped passages. Digital effected vocal sounds pass to a cresting high end which seems to grow and loom out on top of us as the rhythm digs out the distance beneath us. As we're drawn in to the heavenly cavern of electronic sounds, a bubbling tune begins to pitter-patter like sunny raindrops over a convex glass. As we stand on the outside looking in, and on the inside looking out, the sounds pull in the bilinear phase of this ambient and dreamy track. Broken Pieces is subtly moving, with melodic surges causing the straw-bed of simple under-sounds to feel much greater than they are.
Another drift of shimmering light crashes down in a soft landing as Measure Of Time begins. A tribal feel to the drumming brings home sensations of epic hill-tops and leagues of like-minded folk, gathered for the phenomenon of this sound. New beats enter with a cymbal section and the melody grows to incorporate another line of thought. Dualistic tones with smooth drizzling percussion sweeps us into another world of calm, tranquillity, and where everything is in key. Perhaps one day we'll get there, and it is just a measure of time? Just leave it better than you found it and things should turn out okay.
Last up is another tribal drum introduction, this time a lot more organic and hearty. The waveforms have still been shifted, to give that sprinkle of Blue Veil magic the sound requires. Metallic sounds and shakers add to the rhythm and melodic hand-drums begin to tell their tall tales of surprise and superstition. Chimes made of wood and skin ring out across the adjacent bars to additions of synthesiser and reverb. The high energy beat with the tranquil and droning melodies give this final track a flavour of the unusual. Light Mask is a feathery number, with simple taps on the drums and minor inflections on the keys bringing the soul of the track together.
Catch Blue Veil on Youtube
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Show Me That Light EP
TBR: 12th December
The newest member of the Clergy music label Kwartz makes a stand after many years of determined music making. The time spent has fine-tuned his sound into a unique and memorable edge which has become synonymous with the scene. Three unique tracks with a Cleric remix make up the release, and the Vocal Tool at the end is a unique identifier. It's a DJ's world and it's great to see artists sharing their screwdrivers.
It opens with a deep bass driven thud full of synth filling and quick stepping rhythm. Tubular undertones raise in volume and the drums expand to make space for fiery hats and shakers . The pace is set from the start and it only gets more intense as the bars roll past at a frantic speed. Head bopping groove with resonant drumming grabs the attention and focuses it on the stereo. New sounds emerge from the amalgam to add exquisite new edges to the frothy mixture of beats. Robotic and futuristic, the industrial quality of the sound is unmistakable. Contortion is extremely fun and morish, with little melody but an awesome beat, there's only one thing for it, dancing.
New percussive instruments roll up beside the first number to reveal track two. Reload pushes the boundary of the bass drum over the line and with a stodgy sound, provides a thumping dance beat. Heavy and deep, the sensation is one of urgency. Artistic cymbals and sound effects spring in the odd timings interwoven through the steady bass drum to move the track in a snaking path of agile sleekness. Once more, rhythm makes up the most of the number, it's truly dance music and for people who like it high energy with almost intrusively pushed distortions.
Show Me That Light showcases vocals in a rare offering of the human touch. It begins with a bubbling bass, another iconic sound that we know to expect from this artist. Heavy and grabby beats which dig up the ground where we stand thunder across the stereo spectrum. Eerie synths with a ghostly melody begin to swirl over-head. Like clouds at night, it's difficult to resolve for the gloom however there is definite structure to wonder at in awe. Static and builds break through into snare rolls and high-pitched drones that crest on the audible range. As the hypnotic feel of the track has us truly attentive, the vocal sample begins with a highly effected female voice speaking about something spiritual. It's difficult to hear the words but we can feel them and their emotional intent.
Next is a remix of the previous track. Cleric is the head of Clergy Records and no-doubt wanted to give Kwartz a heave-ho on the ropes to truly get him started on the label. Taking the initial track and stripping it down into a cleaner feel, the bass still carries the same pace and composition. The fast double step with a smashing cymbal and snare riff over the top makes for a high energy dance tune. With less effects but just as much punch, the sharper sounds of the remix provide more space for the mind to fill in the gaps.
Catch this Kwartz live show on Youtube
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TBR: 16th November
Berlin based electronic music label Unreel bursts into bloom with their inaugural release, Soo Good by Housemeister. This single puts the bouncy and high energy world of upbeat house music on the ticket straight away, setting the scene for plenty more party anthems to follow no doubt. Housemeister is no stranger to making music, two decades of tuneful adventures proceed him. Already with releases on labels such as Detroit Underground, Bpitch Control, and Boysnoize Records, Housemeister is more than ready to set another stone in his far reaching catalogue of work. By remaining fresh and with an open mind, this long term beat technician has evaded the bourgeois by adapting and evolving with every step taken.
It begins with a staggered drum beat and a vocal sample revolving in short bursts. A strange sensation washes over the room as the pressure slowly builds in waveform and amplitude. New drums kick in and provide a funky rhythm to dance to while the vocal-line merges with the music to become an odd yet workable sound effect. Extra intensity brings out extra percussion in the mix which drives the track forward. Simple yet densely populated with beats, this fun and sparkly number sets a great scene. Synthesisers replace the voice to send the track into a heads down foot stomping frenzy of dancing. They come back just as the energy requires it.
The two B-side tracks take the initial mix and work on it to bring out new variations of flow and energy. The T.Raumschmiere Remix is the first of the two. It produces straight away with fruity and distorted wobbles that begin the beat. A dirty drum kicks in regular throbs and a robotic version of the “Soo Good” vocal sample butters the track with a layer of cool. This techno orientated version of the track has a futuristic feel and brings in subtle energies of old fashioned technology. Not Soo Good makes the final number on this release. It pushes the track in the opposite direction to the previous B-side offering. Technically the same track again, only with a much more frantic sounding drum-beat with treble reigning on the production, another high energy dancer for yet another different crowd. Perhaps these last two tracks are more experimental however they feel more fun to me. Then again, maybe I needed to hear the original before I could make that judgement?
Enjoy this Housemeister live show on Youtube
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Sounds Of SUB:STANCE
TBR: 23rd November
Five years have flown by since Scuba closed the book on his seemingly eternal SUB:STANCE party. The fusion of UK dubstep and Berlin techno brought many names and faces together to enjoy the benefits of both scenes. Good times with good people leave good memories so it truly is high time for a SUB:STANCE release to commemorate those pleasant days. Sometimes our artistic children grow up and leave home, finding a place in someone else's project or enjoying a merry retirement in the knowledge of a job well done. When we go round to visit, we're reminded of those times when life was younger and when we hadn't dreamed of today's motivations. This huge album of almost thirty tracks brings together all the best bits that didn't get a major showing the first time around. Either editor's cuts or vinyl only material, this record ensures that everyone gets their name on a freshly cooked pie.
Matty G with 50,0000 Watts gives us massive intro made of a heavy vocal echo repeating the (almost) title of the track. A scraping metallic undertone shows us the extra side of the silence and then it's filled by a surging bass and drum rhythm. A tribal dancing energy pounds through the mix like a stampede, melodic chimes and fresh samples keep everything interesting. Fat injections of wobbling bass craft huge runways for our focus to pin down the music. A thicker treble pushes us like a roller as the next track strikes the match. More heavy bassline fills the bottom end while psychedelic and head stroking subtle waves swirl above. Echoing drums with far stretched reverb gives Titan Rain by Vex'd a sludgy feel that's dosed with curious magic. 2nd II None adapt the flow to a sensual dreamy feel before chiming in with a tropical sounding percussive melody. This Peverelist Remix of Waterfallz gives us a shiny and upbeat dip into crystalline waters.
After a lengthy relaxing bathe in the sounds of 2nd II None, a snappy drum kick-starts us back into motion. Heavy cymbals bounce in after a couple of bars which are soon joined by even more beats. It builds us up with a drum roll before the studio magic breaks down the sound to reveal a day-glow bassline that moves up and down in easily manageable loops. It's joined by more drums and the dance number really gets going. Trevino's Derelict makes a meal of all the right ingredients for a high energy floor-filler. Scuba himself takes the helm for the next section. Ripchord begins with an oddly formed rhythm, quick and bipolar. It's given a thread through the middle by a bongo edge which fits everything together. Then a quick cymbal hat begins to spell out the basics while the sounds revolve and flow around the tempo. Mysterious tones on a worming synth craft a spacey journey through the sky while we stamp our feet to the beat on the dance-floor below. Skream takes on the slightly eerie sensation for Ain't It Cold? A chilly breeze snakes through the fast paced percussion while a subtle bass gradually builds into a moving fence of neatly sectioned sound.
Another tribal beat-fest shimmers with hypnotic energy as Shackleton reveals Torn Skin. A strange vocal sample of seemingly nonsensical syllables creates a uniquely organic rhythm which gives way to maniac drumming on the distinctly electronic kit. The track explores the effects of key and tone on the repeating drum which is composed well enough to be exciting on its own. Toasty's Skinny takes a dive into a dreamy mist of quenching rhythm and synthesiser. Keys shine in luminous bursts which when joined by friendly voice recordings make a showing of fantasy. The track is skinny in a way, with only a few elements to the mix they are however so well made that there is plenty of music to enjoy. Darkest Red by Appleblim cuts the sound down to a solitary bass drum which, with precision accuracy, begins the tempo of the track. It's joined by cosmic sound effects that sneak in and out of the stereo landscape which new drums add layer and clarity to the catchy beat. Dirty bass with computer effected tones give a digital quality to the mix that has had enough human intervention to remain organic despite its synthesised nature.
More rhythmically psychedelic tones reverberate round a central dancing point for the next number. Analogue sounding oscillations merge with keystrokes that build in intensity over the forthcoming bars. Progressive and atmospheric, Vicodin by Instra:mental forms into a glowing mass of subtle waves and contained beats which evolve into ever growing directions. Perhaps time for a breather, a gloomy light and slowed down mechanics makes this one something of a fresh start. Scuba makes another appearance on this multiple artist record to give us Eject. It begins with a huge trill synth tone which wakes us up from the realms of dream which we had been led into by the previous track. Warm synth chords mingle with bass tones and drum to begin a steady march back to the dance-floor. It's still got a slowness and a relaxed pace which makes a difference however the individual sounds are so full of life that the music contains the same energy as a faster number. It feels like the tempo speeds up, as the drum-breaks bring in new energy, subtle shifts in the composition raise the flame even more.
Melody comes back in a big way for Mercury Dub by TRG. Tones on the keys and with classical instruments combine to give a wholesome a full-bodied sound. Clear bass drum kicks in with an attitude that makes us listen to it. Turned up in the mix, we're allowed to hear the full range of harmonics in each thud. The high energy rhythm begins to shudder back into the music after a fairly long stretch of dream side-lining into the realms of the more experimental and sound discovery areas of the record. Long builds and continual evolution of sonic pressure gives the Vex'd Remix of Search and Destroy's Wavescape a direction and a path which it encourages the whole house to follow. Heavy basslines which curve in predictable melodics give this a solid sensation of something on the horizon. Vocal sample snaps us to attention and a quick synth midrange tone keys a fast moving melody in short bursts. Forgiven by Addison Groove emerges from the pits with amplitude and strength. Unison melodies give a dose of motivation and party energy while the atmosphere knits itself a brightly coloured new sweater. The sounds of passing engineering give the track a 3D quality which helps to bring our mental image of the music together.
Feeling That I Know So Well by Sepalcure makes an entrance with a warm distortion like old vinyl or distant rain outside. Summertime sensations with degraded vocals and sunny keys bring a mirage of sound which builds to form a unique and interesting structure. Trumpets ring out the sound of new light when all of a sudden an extra layer of rhythm brings in a rolling wave of motion. Sirens wail and bass drums bash out a new sensation. Manic effects bring out a true emergency of sound which once it has ensured we are all listening, is replaced by a frantic and upbeat bassline. Rolling drums and fast-stepping melodics in the rhythm makes this a requestable and repeatable offering. Syn Chron by Boddika takes us on a journey through frenzied rhythms and sumptuous synthesiser sounds. Crafty drumming opens Schmuck by Roska. Retro bouncing keys give an arcade feel to the wobbling rhythms, steady yet oddly jointed. New drums give a more solid line of thought to the sound, while heady and distant breath notes swoop overhead. Wooden sounding drums allow for a warming up within the corridors of unjustly forgotten technology.
Bouncing two-step drums kick in to make the energy transparent. This next one is easy to dance to, a temperate bass drum with bouncing percussion mixes with repeating bass to give a solid bed for what comes next. Sky high tones drift like flocks of long-tailed birds through the canopy of tall trees, made up by the far reaching rhythm behind them. Tracer by the returning Trevino brings that classic bass line feel to some more dreamy and well made sonic imagery. Winding Shott brings out an Eastern sounding drum and chime combination. Untold begins like a clock, telling us it's midday. Second hand ticks and melodic bells build on their well timed passages until a steady drum-fill breaks open the bubbles. A new bass tone with a deeper sounding clang makes this second act much more magnetic. Roaring snare-drum rolls and high pressure tones make this number high energy and room enhancing. The alternative version of Live Dawn by Shackleton comes next. More trademark vocal samples build the basis for up in the air drumming and thrusting bass that grabs your feet. Around half way a twinkling synthesiser tone builds on the tower of sound whose foundations are truly laid. It makes way for swirling and windswept sounds to pull us deep into the mix.
Vex'd join forces with Search and Destroy for End of Line. This multidisciplinary action enters with a heavy synth tone that shakes the ground. Distorted vocals increase the pressure before a frantic drumbeat begins to surge. Retro bass drum with high energy snare reinvigorate the senses and pull us into gear for hard partying. Things slow down to a cool swagger as the next number refreshes the scene. A smooth drum with emotive female vocals build into a steady slow dance with finger clicks and oceanic cymbal crashes. The 808 Bass by Matty G is all about the rhythm and its massive mixing potential. Pop that P by Jon Convex is next. A steady upbeat bass bangs out a fast and energetic rhythm. Vocals add a layer of humanity as catchy percussion builds to roll out the carpet. Repeating phrases sampled and looped give a dancing feel while varying directions of bass and synthesiser in the underground make each bar something unique. Untold by Rainbow Dell follows. A heavy synthesiser breaks open with bells and clamour. It soon fades to a mysterious tone that slowly grows into a haunting and childlike melody. Drums add a layer of danceability which tops the track with a simple yet vital finishing touch.
New drums make way for an injection of the standard dance-floor pleasing sounds we need on any techno album. Never mind how experimental we want to be, the people who buy the music and go to the shows want what they pay for. This is no different, each track takes a unique standing point on the direction taken by SUB:STANCE over the years however they all remain within the boundaries of the brand's focus. The final couple of offerings finish the album on a dance-floor happy high which ensures we leave with a great impression and want to come back again.
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TBR: 22nd November
Long term UK music scene dance-floor mechanics Joe Farr and Will Brown decided to put their heads together and form musical outlet Brecon. Their Cairn EP was so well received, a whole list of big name artists queued up to remix their favourite tracks from the release. With influences stretching back for years that include early doors techno and house plus grimy dubstep and UK garage, Brecon pull the whole club together from every room to enjoy their breed of electronic beats and melody.
For the first offering, Om Unit make an impact on Scarp. Heavenly piano and string melodics swerve down from the distant sky, and riding on these come digital effects and bass tones which spread the sound out across the horizon. Rhythm begins to pump in a headstrong pulse of snare and hat with tampered bass drum keeping everything together. Twisting compositions and swaying pressures on the waveform bring out all kinds of fascinating journeys within the continual dance-floor filling number.
A string arpeggio with warm distortion builds the initial phases of the second track. Disjointed rhythms crackle and spill as the complex drums assemble over formulated timings. Wavering metallic synthesiser flows underneath the bouncing and gradually predictable rhythm. A bubbling bass and synth compression makes a heady space for whistling melodies to begin an ascent. This Max Cooper remix of Scattered flows like an ice-cube on a puddle, swooping from one end to the other, floating on surface tension and slight pressures from external forces.
Subside is remixed by Tenebre. This third track builds on the swelling intensity left behind by Max Cooper's rendition by ringing out with more distortion and bass. A crunchy drum riff pounds its weight down in manicured pulsations while a spacey melody begins to spell out the top-side. Repeating trills on the keys in the treble section add a spark of the psychedelic, which has been creeping around in the corners since the beginning of the record. Now a massive hypnotic rhythm builds from the ground up in this frantic number.
To finish this diverse and far reaching four track remix EP, a floor-filling stomper makes the final mix. Quick stepping bass drum with a tapping hi-hat give a sensation of high energy while thrusting bass tones give a sense of impending urgency. An alarm style melody begins to grow from somewhere in the centre of the mix and as it reaches a point where we can tell its breathy voice from the other mysterious sounds in there, it's given its own podium with harmonising notes and a new found drive in the percussion. Nicolas Bougaïeff makes Half Life his own with this minimal yet people pleasing techno focussed light on this classic production.
Watch Scarp from Cairn EP by Brecon on Youtube
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